1) He Took Him In A New Direction
It’s an objective fact that the public opinion on Man of Steel was impossibly divided. This is the curse of making a 21st century Superman movie, however. Superman Returns, in 2006, attempted to recreate the feeling of the 1970s Christopher Reeve interpretation of the character. Reeve’s Superman, considered to be the gold standard, never wavers and is beloved by the people.
Of course, the ‘big blue Boy Scout’ interpretation of Supes often draws criticism. People say that it lacks realism and drama, or that it overloads on camp to make up for it. And so, Zack Snyder took the character in a new direction.
Instead of creating a world in which Superman sets the moral tone, Snyder sets Superman down in a world almost no different than our own. Superman muse grapple with his choices as he attempts to create himself. This makes up the majority of Clark Kent’s character arc in Man of Steel. The movie, an origin story, teaches us who the hero wants to be. Batman V Superman, in turn, shows us how we, as a public react.
This realism may come off as dark or gritty in the face of brighter superhero flicks like those of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which for the most part ignores the public aspect of superheroism in favor of grappling with the conflicts of its heroes. But it’s necessary for the development of the DC Extended Universe for us to be shown a mirror of ourselves. This way, we can immerse ourselves more fully in the universe. We know how the media reacts to Superman now, and for better or for worse, this is something we have to confront within ourselves.
By rooting Superman so heavily in the real world, Zack Snyder allows idealism to sprout in a realistic and cynical modern world.